Being brought up religiously in my youth is one of the things that helped me along my road of healing.
What I should say is that it gave me an opportunity to stay open.
Maybe not right off the bat.
But it did happen, nevertheless.
Somewhere in my third year of sobriety, as my foster son was sick our family doctor took myself and my partner into her small office.
There she sat across from us holding our hands saying, “You two boys need to learn the word terminal.”
It was a surreal moment.
One of the first to come.
I remember coming home that day and looking around our home – really looking – and thinking it’s just stuff.
“Just for today, all will be revealed in time.” Kept going over and over in my head.
By this time in my recovery I was working my way – sometimes reluctantly – to making amends.
Thinking that I’ve given over my will – life is fine.
But it was at this pointing in my recovery that I really had to look at just how much of my life I’ve really given over and just how much I was still running on self-will.
Had you had asked me at that time in my life I would’ve told you that I had given it all. The sad reality is that I had just started to scratch the surface of my spirituality side.
Or maybe not sad – but looking back now I made it much harder then it could’ve been, or had to be.
Seeing those words hanging off the wall at those meeting halls about a God of my understanding, made me think back to my youth.
I really didn’t have a problem with God per se, God had one with me.
But as I stood there looking out from the podium speaking on behalf of my foster son – praying to God that I’d get through this – the presence of him around me by the love of our family and friends is what helped me through those troubled times.
The trust that I had started to learn about a higher power.
Not really knowing that in just a few months I’d be back at that podium looking out at my family and friends saying my farewells to my mother.
Trying to find the God in this.
But it was there nevertheless.
The presence of God and yeah – my mom.
Feeling those losses was one of the hardest times I’ve been through at that junction of my recovery.
But I was never alone.
Finding my faith was just one of the things that helped.
Putting my faith into my life has been the journey too.
I’ve often say that, “My spirituality is not the same as yesterday, a week ago, years ago.
It’s always changing and growing.” It has to.
More powerful people has come before me to show me the way to live happy and free.
As corny as it sounds, it’s true for me.
As the time went by and taking care of my dad had turned into one of the most important things I took on.
Staying sober, being part of life, working full-time, being active in not just my recovery – but the Fellowship and learning to play well with others was also important.
I’ve heard and keep hearing, “If you don’t leave the basics, you won’t leave the basics.”
So I haven’t.
Sometimes in spite of myself or anyone else I’ve stayed sober.
Through God’s grace I’ve stayed sober.
Now that more time has passed and I’m back up at that podium looking out at the sea of family and friends – just going through the motions of the passing of my father.
Being grateful for the knowledge that I fulfilled a promise to help keep my father’s dignity in this last part of his journey.
My spirituality is once again changed.
The passing of time in these calamities is often opened to how I see things around me today.
When my foster son passed away one of the first things I started to notice was the color red.
Well more to the point – red balloons.
When we put him to rest we let go a few dozen balloons.
All the color red, his favorite color, with little notes of hope on each string.
It seemed that whenever I would think about him – happy or sad – I’d see a red balloon pop-up in the most bizarre places.
I started to just accept that that was his way of saying, hello.
My moms was different.
It would come to me when I would help out a family at Christmas time or opening my home for that neighbor that had no food that night.
Feeling the presence of my mom in my actions – reinforced my beliefs and faith towards my higher power.
Through God’s grace in spite of my own this happen.
As I started to clean out my dad’s belongings and wondering how to divide up his things left behind.
His clothes, his movies – how can someone own so many VHS tapes is beyond me.
To his eagle collection.
Still reeling from the waves of emotions I was back at work.
Life goes on for the living.
It wasn’t long after his burial that I was with a friend driving over the bridge that separates the two small towns where we live and where our family cemetery is.
Being consumed with why the vehicle in front of us was driving slow, way to slow.
I was all caught up with me that I almost missed seeing the driver and their passenger pointing and looking out their windshield.
When I finally looked up myself I saw the most – yeah, you probably know what I’m going to say.
I haven’t seen it at that spot since that day.
But I do see them from time to time out in the open – well, unless you take that time at the zoo.
I don’t know if it was a sign from God, the presence of my father, that day.
I’d like to think it was a little bit of both, that helps.
It’s knowing that once again my faith is restored – strengthen that day and still is.
I’ve often talk about my mother’s faith or how she looked at religion.
My dad was different.
He grew up on a farm, being part of a large family and having a mom – my grandmother – that was native American.
So, over the years sense his passing and seeing that most beautiful bird.
I’ve given my father or how I look at it a spiritual name.
When I think of my father and feel that breeze upon my face.
I can be lifted up on wings of my beliefs.
I can be lifted up on my faith today.
In spite of myself.
By calling out his name,